Late Light

Sindh Sublunary

Etel Adnan, Autumn in a Yosemite Valley

With my brother I scaled the threshing
night under halide arcs

flaked slate lodes tooth to cliff
and four feet dangling

We pushed to the front to face
the light and growl

We sidled the flank
Sang out of our same profile

Rebore ourselves as twins
and our ears rang for weeks

—One cheek cool the other
flushed One hand hot plump
the other old veins marmoreal

sheer o shakar seeps the unfired
clay of kheer bowls and cool
soil seeps orchard eclipse
for spoon scrape

They smash our bowls
when we’re done on the earth
one hand the ramifying giver
the other—

—Downpour ground mirror
swims the shards by star
Cranky grays hot whites
The lacewing paris with their ebon
hair take off on a ripple
but we are hers

She said we have to voyage to
eye to eye at clouds
Said all summer puddles
were the wading pool of jannat


Sindh Sublunary

sheer o shakar is cream and sugar in Farsi, also the origin for the English “seersucker”—these are key ingredients in

kheer, a rice pudding served in clay bowls

jannat is heaven in Urdu

Anjuli Raza Kolb is Associate Professor of English at the University of Toronto, where she teaches postcolonial literature and theory and poetry. She holds a PhD in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University, and has taught at Bard, Williams College, City College New York, and Brooklyn Institute for Social Research. Her academic research explores how science, medicine, natural history, and other kinds of colonial knowing reshaped literature, culture, economy, and politics. Her first book, Epidemic Empire, uncovers the history behind the dead metaphor of the “terrorism epidemic,” by looking at documents of public health, policy, immigration law, novels, poems, films, and more. Her poems, translations, and essays have appeared in various venues and are in conversation with the traditions of Urdu poetry, contemporary queer poetics, and lyric memoir. Her poetry collection Janaab-e Shikva [Watchqueen] was a finalist for the national poetry series in 2021.
Tags: Poetry